Emanuel Ax was born in Poland. He emigrated with his family to Winnipeg (Canada) and studied at the Juilliard School of Music in New York. In 1974 he won the first Arthur Rubinstein Piano Competition in Tel Aviv and five years later the American Avery Fisher Prize.
Emanuel Ax grew into a versatile musician, touring all over the world to give recitals and concerts with major orchestras. Emanuel Ax was pianist in residence with the Berlin Philharmonic in 2005/06. As artist in residence with the New York Philharmonic, he played all of Beethoven’s piano concertos in Hong Kong and in Australia in the 2012/13 season.
Emanuel Ax premiered many violin compositions, for instance those by John Adams, Magnus Lindberg, Christopher Rouse, Krzysztof Penderecki, Brett Dean, Missy Mazzoli and Anders Hillborg.
He received honorary doctorates from the universities of Yale and Columbia.
In 1994 he made his debut as soloist with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, and was repeatedly invited back. In 2013/14 he performed with the orchestra under Mariss Jansons in Amsterdam, Bucharest, China and Japan. In June, 2016, Emanuel Ax will perform Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 4 with the Concertgebouw Orchestra, François-Xavier Roth conducting.